i have 2 cd-storms , but its to big for my wife,looking for a kayak to fit her better,she’s very small,5 foot ,85 lbs,any ideas on one thats close to the storm ?

not even
you don’t want anything close to a Storm if she’s 5’/ 85 lbs. this boat is built for 200-300 lb paddlers + GEAR and even it’s little sis the Squall, whilst similar, is good for considerable more paddler than your wife.

Sing may give you some ideas. He’s our pint sized expert. IMO- the perfect small person’s boat is still on the drawing board.


The CD “Squall” is a small Storm…

If she wanto to go hard core
a piccolo (used) or a arctic tern 14 (kit stitch and glue are among the best. If she wants to sit in a boat and paddle anything will do.

Common question
If you search the archives for “small paddler” you’ll find a lot of discussions.





The usual suspects include:

P&H Vela

Impex Mystic

CD Squamish

WS Tchaika

Also small(er)
Not as small as your wife (5’3" and 135 pounds), but my plastic touring boat is a CD Squall. Agree with prior posts - it could use padding to drop the height for me and I needed hip blocks. It’s way too big for your wife. She’d not have useful contact with the thigh braces, which in the messy stuff is downright dangerous.

The Idea of a Slipstream with a lowered deck is a possible, but it’s still probably too high a deck for good contact. And while it’s hardly the twitchiest boat out there it’s also not the easiest boat in CD’s line to handle in messy stuff. Not sure how alert your wife wants to be to managing the boat.

The only current production boat with a decent chance of fitting her is an NDK Explorer LV (low volume). Much lowered deck, extra small cockpit so she’d actually have decent contact. She’s likely need some padding, but at least she’d have some useful contact. And I can’t recommend this boat highly enough for its being seaworthy as all living hell and taking good care of the paddler.

It also may be worth checking out a Foster Silhouette, but I suspect the cockpit will be too long and she’ll be looking at knee braces rather than thigh.

The other production boats that may work for her are models that are only available used because they went out of production. And some are pretty advanced boats.

I agree with the other posts, that among your options should be some of the custome builders’ boats. But definately try the Explorer LV.


All this talk is of wishing for a

– Last Updated: Dec-19-04 2:32 PM EST –

boat for smaller folks is killng me.
I keep trying to bite my tongue since it will still be a while before its available.
For a couple years now we have been planning on doing such a boat. Since we are a small shop we don't really have time to crank out new models year after year..... these things are ALOT of work to develop, build prototypes
make any modifications, fair in perfect plugs and make molds form said plugs. On to say, I will have a new model for smaller folks available this spring which hopefully will be just what some are looking for.

We will be posting pictures of the boat as it comes to life only one in there right now. More spec.info to come too.


Forgot to mention...... codename is Mermaid.

This will be a low volume, long waterline, swede form, super fast hull with a low volume deck, with a choice of two different size ( one small one regular) fore / aft adjustable seats. All built in our light and supertough epoxy matrix construction. Scaled down for smaller paddlers. Big guys will NOT fit.

I’d suggest…
either an Impex Mystic or a Betsie Bay Valkyrie. I’m 4’11" (we won’t get into the weight thing) and I love my Mystic. But, my Valkyrie is the boat that really fits me perfectly! I have an Impex Montauk and an Eddyline Nighthawk and I like them, too. If you’re looking for a close fit, though, check out the Valkyrie.

good boats
My son, about 70lbs, has a Piccolo.

I like my Necky Tikani. I’m told that it was designed as a performance boat for kids. It’s not too tippy, but it holds an edge. I’ve paddled it on the ocean and it does surf well.

I will be trying a Tchaika soon.

I saw a small woman in a Seda Impluse, but she sorta disappeared inside of it.


Squamish will be too big
It has 23" beam and felt wide on me, and I am considerably bigger than 80 lbs!

Squall is sort of a scaled-down Storm
I say sort of because it is 2" narrower, about an inch lower in foredeck, and half a foot shorter–in other words, it is smaller but not proportionately so, keeping most of the length but losing a lot of the beam.

That is a good thing, IMO. Despite being relatively narrow compared with the Storm, the Squall is still incredibly stable (both primary and secondary) for a small person. I am 5’2" and 110 lbs and paddled a Squall for almost 3 seasons. It will feel MUCH better to your wife than the Storm does but it is still big for her. At the very least, she will need to add lots of padding to the thigh braces and probably the sides where her hips are. I have an additional 3/4" to 1" of padding under the thigh braces. I tried some hip pads and didn’t get much benefit from them so I removed them. Turns out I can still edge and roll the kayak without them, even though there is plenty of space around my hips. The thigh braces alone give me good enough purchase.

The Squall is pretty darned fast for being plastic and heavy and not all that narrow. You will have a tough job finding something for your wife, if she wants high performance and snug fit without making a custom boat.

However, I do have one recommendation for a snug-fitting kayak that is very easy to paddle at touring speeds: the discontinued Wilderness Systems Piccolo (20" beam, 13.5" long, low deck). I have heard the glass Tchaika (still in production) is also nice, though it’s a little wider than the Piccolo. I rented a Piccolo and found it effortless to paddle at 4 to 4.5 mph. Felt like no resistance. The catch is that in a sprint, it feels like pedaling a bicycle in granny gear–not much forward motion no matter how high the rpms. The Squall is harder to get going in the first place but responds to greater effort with faster speed.

If you are willing to build a boat, your choices are better. If you custom-size it, you can get exactly what you want. But if you don’t know what that is, or don’t want to play guinea pig, the stock sizes are still better than what’s available in mass-built models. I got a kit for a Shearwater Merganser 16 and built a boat from that. It is 16’ long and has 21" beam with about 12" foredeck. The designer is willing to downscale the plans or kit (whichever you choose), either disproportionately or proportionately. Guillemot Kayaks offers plans for a strip-built kayak that is 16’ long and 20" beam. You could also build a SOF (skin-on-frame) kayak for the snuggest fit and lightest weight.

If you plan to take long camping trips, a bit of extra size is good. I have kept the Squall for that purpose. If you want a very snug fit and light weight and don’t intend to camp at all, look for a used Piccolo or consider building the boat.